Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon's World Championship run fell short Thursday as Canada lost 3-2 to Finland in the quarterfinals at Chizhovka Arena in Minsk, Belarus.
This marks the fifth straight year that Canada has lost in the quarterfinals. Its last medal at the World Championship was a silver in 2009 following a loss to Russia in the championship final.
Nathan MacKinnon during a 2014 IIHF World Championship game in Minsk, Belarus with Team Canada (Richard Wolowicz/HHOF-IIHF Images).
Canada won gold at the Sochi Olympics last February and was bidding to become the second team to capture in the same year Olympics and World Championship gold (Sweden, 2006).
Canada held a 2-1 lead in the second period Thursday after Kyle Turris (Senators) and Mark Scheifele (Jets) found the net, but Finland quickly turned the game back in its favor early in the third.
Juuso Hietanen scored just 28 seconds into the final stanza to tie the contest at 2-2, and Iiro Pakarinen scored the winner for Finland after receiving a pass from Jori Lehtera in the slot during an odd-man rush and firing a shot far-side with 3:08 left.
"For the most part I thought our team played well," Canada coach Dave Tippett (Coyotes) said. "We controlled long portions of the game. We made a couple of mistakes that cost us the game. Our goal was to get better every day. That was probably the best game we've played here."
But only one is moving on to the tournament quarterfinals.
MacKinnon, the Avalanche forward and youngest member of Team Canada, had a game-high seven shots, and Joel Ward (Capitals) scored twice on the power play and had an assist in Canada’s victory against Norway at Chizhovka Arena.
|Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images|
The Canadians (6-1, 18 points) outshot the Norwegians 42-16 and won Group A in the eight-team, two-pool format. They will play Finland, Group B’s fourth-place team, on Thursday, with the semifinals coming Saturday, where a match against either the United States or France would await.
The World Championship gold-medal game is scheduled for Sunday.
"It was a long game but we weren't down and out or anything," Ward said to the IIHF website Tuesday. "We felt good about ourselves. We had a lot of chances, a lot of shots. We had some power plays. [We’ve] just got to capitalize on special teams."
Avalanche prospect Jonas Holos was on the ice for 34:08 for Norway (2-5, seven),
which led 1-0 at the end of the first period and later went ahead 2-1 with just less than eight minutes to play in the second.
Mark Scheifele (Jets) tied the game 2-2 four minutes later for Canada, with help from Ward, who then put the Canadians ahead for good with nine minutes to play in regulation.
Nathan MacKinnon had two assists on Friday to help Team Canada win its fourth consecutive game at the 2014 IIHF World Championship with a 6-1 victory over Italy.
The Canadians have won each of their contests since losing to France in the tournament opener last Friday. They have outscored their opponents by a 20-6 margin in those wins.
After taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, Canada scored four times in the middle frame and once more with 3:30 remaining. MacKinnon assisted on Canada's final two scores, Cody Hodgson's tally at 16:15 of the second and Brayden Schenn's goal at 16:30 of the third.
MacKinnon now has four points (one goal and three assists) in his first world championship. He also had six shots and two penalty minutes against Italy.
Canada (4-0-1) sits in second place in Group A and just one point behind undefeated Sweden (5-0-0). The top two teams will face off on Sunday at 7:45 a.m. MT.
SWISS FALL IN SHOOTOUT
In Group B on Friday, Reto Berra did all he could in net but Switzerland lost 3-2 in a shootout to Finland.
Berra made 22 saves and stopped Finland's first four skaters in the shootout before Iiro Pakarinen scored in the fifth round to secure the win for the Finns. No Swiss players scored in the tiebreaker.
Switzerland will play Kazakhstan, last place in Group B, on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. MT.
Avalanche prospects Markus Lauridsen of Denmark and Jonas Holos of Norway did not have tournament games on Friday. Lauridsen and Denmark are seventh in Group A with a 1-3-0 record, while Holos has contributed two points (one goal and one assist) to help Denmark to fourth in Group A with a 2-2-0 mark.
Cody Hodgson (Sabres) had a hat trick Thursday at Chizhovka Arena, helping Canada and the Avalanche’s Nathan MacKinnon to a 6-1 win against Denmark in a Group A preliminary-round game at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus.
|Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images|
Flyers forward Matt Read scored twice for the Canadians (3-0-1, 10 points), and Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau also found the net.
Canada goaltender Ben Scrivens (Oilers) made 29 saves and improved to 2-0-0 in the fifth all-time Worlds matchup between Denmark and Canada.
MacKinnon, who had a goal and an assist in Canada’s three previous Worlds games, totaled 11:29 of ice time across 17 shifts but fired off just one first-period shot against the Danes (1-3-0, three).
Avs defenseman prospect Markus Lauridsen was on the ice for 5:32 for Denmark and was called for a high stick at 14:31 of the second period.
"As a team we had a strategy of wearing [the Danes] down and keeping pucks in their end,” Hodgson told the IIHF website, “and, eventually, that showed in the third period as we had so much possession time.”
Avalanche goalie Reto Berra made 22 saves Wednesday to help his Switzerland team snap a three-game losing streak at the 2014 IIHF World Championship in Belarus with a 3-2 win against Germany at Minsk Arena.
Berra started in goal for the Swiss for the third time in the Championship and improved to 2-1 with a scoreless final 21:08 after Thomas Oppenheimer pulled Germany within a goal late in the second period with one of his two scores in the game.
A close-range, near-tying shot from Germany’s Alexander Barta rang off the crossbar in the final minute of regulation, and Switzerland avoided a four-game winless start in the group-play, round-robin format.
"We had a great chance for a fourth goal, then they came straight back down the ice and hit the bar," Switzerland’s Roman Josi (Predators) told the IIHF website after notching two assists in a game-high 25:16 on the ice.
“Everything went so fast. I saw [Barta] in front of the goal and thought, 'Please don't score.' Luckily he put it on the crossbar."
Nathan MacKinnon added another notch to his burgeoning resume Monday in Canada’s 4-3 win against the Czech Republic at Chizhovka Arena at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
MacKinnon, the Avalanche rookie who led all NHL rookies this season in points (63), goals (24-tied) and assists (39), potted one of the Canada’s two second-period power-play scores to become the second youngest in Canada history to score a goal at the Worlds since 1977.
He slapped in a rebound off a shot from the Capitals’ Joel Ward at 16:07 of the second period to put the Canadians ahead 3-1 and surpass Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby as the youngest in the nation’s history at the annual tournament.
Former NHL star Paul Kariya, who played for the Avs during the 2003-04 season, is the youngest to score for Canada (1993) since it began sending NHL pros to the tournament in 1977 (Vienna, Austria).
Morgan Rielly (Maple Leafs) added another score after MacKinnon’s to put Canada up 4-1 before the Czechs rallied on an even-strength goal and a power-play goal in the third period.
Nathan MacKinnon and Canada opened their 2014 IIHF World Championship on Friday with a 3-2 shootout loss to France at Chizhovka Arena. The win for France marked only the second time in the country's history at the tournament that it had beaten the hockey power, with it last defeating Canada in April 1995 by a 4-1 score.
MacKinnon had the assist on Erik Gudbranson's go-ahead goal that gave the Canadians a 2-1 lead at 10:42 of the third period, but Stephane da Costa's second goal of the night tied the game at 2-2 for the French less than two minutes later.
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare won the game for France in the shootout as he scored in third round, the only goal of the tiebreaker. MacKinnon did not participate in the shootout for Canada.
France opened the game's scoring with da Costa's first goal of the game with 2:57 left in the first period, but the French lead was short lived as Canada quickly answered to tie the contest with 16 seconds remaining in the stanza.
Elsewhere on Day 1 of the tournament, Avs goalie Reto Berra's Switzerland team lost 5-0 to Russia in its first game. Berra was the backup goalie for the Swiss and did not play in the game.
PMacKinnon, the Avs’ 18-year-old Canadian forward, who burst onto the hockey scene this season, and Berra, a Swiss-born goaltender acquired on this year’s trade-deadline day, will represent their respective countries at the 2014 IIHF World Championship.
The 17-day, 16-team tournament begins Friday morning (MT) and runs through Sunday, May 25, with the playoffs beginning May 22.
Preliminary play is scheduled until May 20, with the top four teams from each eight-team group advancing to a crossover quarterfinal setup. Semifinal games will be played May 24, and medals will be decided the next day.
MacKinnon and Berra are both set to start the tournament Friday, as Team Canada is set to face France at 7:45 a.m. (MT) at Chizhovka Arena (9,600) while the Swiss take on Russia at the same time across town at Minsk Arena (15,000).
Both players made themselves eligible for the tournament after the Avalanche’s season ended last week in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.